The University of Redlands women's soccer team battled to a 1-1 draw in an evenly-matched contest against the visiting Leopards of the University of La Verne during Saturday night's important Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) showdown on Farquhar Field. With the result, the Bulldogs have clinched a top-four spot in the SCIAC Postseason Tournament.
Prior to the match, the Maroon and Gray celebrated its seniors with a short pregame ceremony, with all six of them garnering the start.
Despite a fast start to the game with two shots coming from each team in the opening five minutes, the first half was relatively uneventful. The Bulldogs managed to test the Leopards' goalkeeper midway through with save-requiring shots from senior forwards Hayley Romo (Port Orchard, WA) and Adi Fellows (Albuquerque, NM).
Redlands' most dangerous chance came late in the half when junior forward Skyla Wilson (Palm Desert, CA) drove down the left flank and into the box. She sped past the defender and uncorked a solid shot that flew high.
Action picked up in the second half, as senior forward Madison Mills (San Ramon, CA) blasted a shot that was blocked in the first minute. The Bulldogs stayed on the attack and earned back-to-back corner kicks in the 49th minute. On the first attempt, Romo got a head on the ball, but it flew high. Romo once again maneuvered to the ball for a header on the second corner, which was saved by the goalkeeper.
La Verne began to build momentum in its offensive third with five consecutive shots, two of which were stopped by first-year goalkeeper Natalie Hubacz (Grass Valley, CA). In addition, the Bulldog defense came up with a big stop in the 53rd minute. After La Verne took the ball all the way down the right flank, the Leopard forward fired off a promising shot, but sophomore defender Abby Nordquist (Gig Harbor, WA) sprinted to block the ball away and out of danger.
Beginning in the 74th minute, junior forward Gabby Hart (Sammamish, WA) unleashed a powerful shot on goal that was tipped out of bounds for a corner kick. Off of senior defender Louisa Alstot's (Portland, OR) corner, junior midfielder Bria Bowton (Spokane, WA) was the first to strike the ball, but it was blocked by the defense. As the ball was cleared, Alstot recovered it and sent a long ball into the box, where Romo flicked it with her head to sophomore midfielder Emily Falla (Woodinville, WA). After a couple of dribbles, Falla launched the ball past the Leopard goalkeeper for the go-ahead goal in the 75th minute.
However, the Leopards answered with an equalizer in the 87th minute to push the game into its first overtime.
After junior forward Bryn Anderson (Tahoe City, CA) took the first shot of the stanza, the Bulldogs' defense was put to the test. The backline of first-year defender Rilee Mezenen (Holladay City, UT), Bowton, Nordquist, and Alstot rose to the occasion with a pair of big blocks. In the 96th minute, a scrum occurred in front of the net and La Verne took a solid shot that was somehow blocked by the defense. On the Leopards' next possession, Hubacz was forced into action and made another clutch save to keep the game alive. La Verne took one final attempt in the 100th minute, but Hubacz was there once again.
In the second overtime, the Bulldogs offense was on display with two solid shots. Nordquist nearly converted on a header on a corner kick, but it was blocked away by a nearby defender. The final attempt came from Fellows, which also was blocked. After continued back-and-forth action, time expired with the game in a 1-1 draw.
Redlands (9-4-2, 8-2-2 SCIAC) competes at home for the final time this regular season when it takes on Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges on Wednesday, October 24, at 7 p.m.